Written by Stephen Levine Wednesday, 14 August 2013 00:00
With recent economic troubles, local family owned mom and pop stores have not fared well. Fortunately, a gem still stands: Best Hardware and Mill Supplies at 406 Jericho Turnpike.
The neighborhood hardware store, next to CVS Pharmacy and TD Bank, has been supplying Floral Park/New Hyde Park residents with tools, paint, cleaning supplies, electrical supplies and gardening equipment for 92 years.
When asked what the store that his grandfather created in 1921 brought to the community, owner Carl Best didn’t hesitate and said, “personal service.”
“Our service is better and our prices compete with Home Depot,” said Best. “Half of the time we beat their prices. If their prices are better, it’s lesser quality. When they buy it from me and it’s more expensive, it’s better quality.”
From its opening in 1921 until 1960, Best’s grandfather ran the store at the location it stands at today. When Jericho Turnpike was widened in 1960, the store moved to New Hyde Park until 1995, when Best bought the store from his father and moved it back to its original Floral Park location.
When his grandfather opened the store, his family lived upstairs and everyone had to come downstairs to work. As a young boy, Best even recalls being given little tasks in the store.
He would sit beside a keg of nuts and use the nuts to attach license plates to their frames. “I got one penny for every 10 I did.”
When looking back on the family’s business, Best admits he never asked how his grandfather started the business.
“He just did,” he said. “He was good at it. He enjoyed it and he worked hard his whole life doing it.”
After his grandfather passed away after a life of running the hardware store, Best’s father took over because “the only thing he knew was hardware.” Decades after getting paid a penny for making 10 license plates, Best was running the store himself.
Best cares about his community, sponsoring athletic teams on a yearly basis.
Even though many long-time customers patronize this local fixture for its personal service and convenience, Best sees another major reason why people may choose his store over competitors, like Home Depot and Lowes.
“We pump money back into the community,” explained Best. “The money given to us will come back to the community. For every dollar, Home Depot gets, maybe 25 cents will go back [to the community]. With us, any where from 75 cents to 80 cents of every dollar will go back to the community.”
While the location may be smaller then the average big box store, according to Best, they can still offer all of the same appliances as their competitors.
“We offer almost everything,” said Best. “We may not have it in the store, but we can get it.”